The leaked intelligence document dump claiming - that Russia had intelligence support for Trump for about five years - that they fed him opposition research on Clinton during the campaign – and that Russia had humiliating evidence of his sexual activities – has caused a predictable outraged reaction by Trump. He has a point in that the leaked documents had been in possession of most legitimate news and government organizations for some time, and indeed, since they could not verify the allegations they didn’t reveal them. He claimed they were totally false, which I doubt, but that is not the point.
The actual point of the story is not the content of the blackmailable stuff, but the fact that Russia had this opposition research on Trump and did not use it prior to the election. Why? They had plenty of stuff they dumped to harm Clinton during the campaign, but withheld stuff they could have dumped to harm Trump.
The briefing that the intelligence chiefs gave to the President and the president elect included info on these documents. It was part of their case that the Russians interfered with our election to help Trump and hurt Hillary. It was evidence that they only went after Clinton even though they could have gone after Trump as well, or instead.
Now David Ignatius, a very savvy foreign policy thinker, wonders whether the Russians stopped Clinton for reasons of their own, and now are out to torpedo Trump after he has won. Perhaps Putin wants Trump to be president because he thinks that would be better for Russia than a Clinton presidency. But, perhaps the real game has always been to elect the weaker candidate and then destroy him when he wins.
Perhaps Putin’s goal is to destroy the United States in a way that he otherwise could not do. He doesn’t have the military or the economy to humiliate and harm the United States, but he does have the decades of perfecting the very sophisticated weaponry of disinformation and propaganda.
It’s hard for me to imagine any more effective means of destroying America than having the impetuous, uncontrolled, foolish child that is Donald Trump become president, and then undermine him with propaganda and disinformation.
Given this silly man’s history, it doesn’t seem too hard for expert hackers, propagandists, and disinformation artists to destroy him, but I think America will definitely survive Trump and Putin as well.